Together, we are Brilliant: A Year of Firefly Highlights.

Highlights of 2023

As we bid farewell to another incredible year, it’s time to reflect on the journey of Firefly Bay and Basin in 2023. From the inception of The Point Project to the unveiling of the refreshed brand and website, each moment is a testament to Firefly’s commitment to fostering a vibrant and connected community. Let’s delve into the highlights that made 2023 an extraordinary year for Firefly.

The Point Project: A Mural of Unity

The year kicked off with The Point Project, a unique initiative that will culminate in the installation of a colourful and vibrant mural at Sanctuary Point State Park in February 2024. In collaboration with Shoalhaven City Council and Verb Syndicate, Firefly has played a pivotal role in engaging young minds throughout the project. The mural will stand not just as a work of art but as a symbol of empowerment, with the voices and opinions of young individuals intricately woven into its fabric.

Community Consultation Skate Park the Point Project

Curious and Creative Program: Nurturing Talents, Inspiring Futures

Launched initially as a pilot in 2022, the Curious and Creative Program extended its reach into 2023 to connect with more disengaged students from Vincentia High School through dynamic programs in photography, podcasting, cooking, and life skills. From the impactful Melodic Minds podcast to being featured in the About Bay and Basin Magazine, the program has showcased the positive collaboration between Firefly and BCR Communities and the tangible impact it has had on the participants’ lives.

Youth Week Event: Celebration at Sanctuary Point Skate Park

In April, Firefly hosted an entertaining Youth Week Event at Sanctuary Point Skate Park, garnering support from youth-focused organisations and the broader community. The event was a celebration of community unity, featuring a performance by the Vincentia High School Aboriginal Dance Troop and the talents of young individuals during Totem Skateboarding workshops.

Youth Week 2023

Youth Voice Project: Empowering Future Leaders

From June onwards, Firefly embarked on the Youth Voice Project, empowering 14 students from Vincentia High School to become peer researchers, who in turn created and conducted a comprehensive survey school-wide. The young researchers used the survey results to develop four impactful youth-focused project ideas, which they presented at a Pitch Event in mid-October. As Phase 1 concludes, the project ideas will now advance into Phase 2—project implementation, promising a lasting influence on the lives of young people in the Bay and Basin.

Youth Voice Project - WSU visit

Brand Refresh and New Website: A Digital Facelift

In a significant development, Firefly underwent a comprehensive brand refresh aligned with three key audiences—youth, parents/guardians, and local organisations/partnerships. The new website is a dynamic platform showcasing Firefly’s initiatives and disseminating news about this unique community-led endeavour.

Website refresh

Community Collaboration: Springing into Sanctuary Point

From August to October, Firefly collaborated with Sanctuary Point Community Pride for the second annual poster competition during the Spring into Sanctuary Point Festival. The competition, aimed at creative youth, yielded stunning designs that adorned online and offline community event promotions. The Firefly team’s active participation and community engagement in this event marked another successful year of collaboration.

Embracing Change and New Beginnings

Embracing Change and New Beginnings became a theme in November as Tash Busbridge, Community Impact Strategy Coordinator, went on parental leave, welcoming a healthy baby boy in mid-December. Stepping into her role is Liz Stack, bringing her passion for community engagement and a wealth of experience. In December, we welcomed our newest member of the team, Mardi Grundy, as the Project’s Research, Tracking and Learning Associate. Christine compelted the ‘Regerate Leadership program though the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation in November with 20 other Shoalhaven Community Leaders. Simultaneously, Kasey Henshaw completed her Social Work Degree, transitioning to ‘Youth Connector’ in 2024, emphasising Firefly’s commitment to personal and professional growth.

Beyond the Highlights: A Commitment to Societal Conversations

Beyond these highlighted projects, the Firefly team actively contributed to the Yes Referendum campaign, supported ‘Wear it Purple Day’ at Vincentia High School, and played a substantial role in organising Shoalhaven’s first Queer Formal. Firefly’s involvement in these diverse activities underscore its commitment to broader societal conversations and events, reinforcing its goal to be a catalyst for positive change.

As the curtains fall on 2023, Firefly Bay and Basin reflect on, as our name represents, that true strength lies in unity, a firefly emits a small light, but together, their glow can illuminate a path. The path that Firefly Bay and Basin is purposefully embarking on is towards a brighter, more connected community. With each initiative, Firefly continues to listen to and work beside young people and the wider community to create opportunities that empower, inspire, and foster a sense of belonging, leaving an indelible mark on the hearts and minds of the Bay and Basin community.

Here is to another year of brilliance, unity, and empowerment with Firefly!

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